Mikel Arteta was delighted with his team’s mentality and ruthlessness as Arsenal demolished West Ham 6-0.
Victory at the London Stadium was built on set-piece dominance with William Saliba and Gabriel scoring headers from Declan Rice’s crosses and Bukayo Saka netting a spot-kick that banishes the memory of his penalty miss on the same ground last year. Leandro Trossard rounded off the scoring in the first half with a fine curled effort.
The Gunners were in no mood to take it easy on the hosts. Saka drove into the box and smashed a low effort in at the near post before Declan Rice, with his final touch of the game, found the net from 25 yards out. Having had his early touches booed by some of the home supporters, the ex-Hammer left the field to a standing ovation.
Arteta rang the changes in the closing stages handing minutes to 16-year-old Ethan Nwaneri, his first appearance of the season, and a number of fringe players. Having arrived in east London with a long injury list, the day couldn’t have gone any better.
After the game, the manager couldn’t hide his pride in a complete performance.
“I’m extremely happy,” he told Sky Sports. “The way we performed, the way we played. Such a big score in a really difficult place tells you a lot about how well the boys played today.”
On the scoreline being Arsenal’s biggest away win in the Premier League and the biggest winning margin in the league since 1935 when Ted Drake scored all seven goals in a 7-1 win at Aston Villa, he added:
“It’s great to make [club] history especially the way we have done it. We’re in a good moment and when you have good moments you have to build and maintain the momentum.
“The team from the beginning looked really sharp. We had to put right the last two results against them and that was a good motivation for the boys.”
Arteta was also full of praise for Bukayo Saka whose brace took his total goal contributions for the Gunners to the 100-mark (51 goals & 49 assists).
“When you talk about consistency at his age…what he has done in the last two or three seasons in remarkable,” said Arteta.
“His attitude, his quality, what he delivers every week…it’s really difficult to find. That’s why he is so important to us.”
The boss was also hugely impressed by Declan Rice’s contribution. Having had a difficult game against his old club in December, the England international was at his dynamic best today, capping off his all-energy performance with a beautiful long-range effort.
“It’s always difficult to come back to your old club,” continued Arteta. :The fans were really good to him. When he went to take the corner they clapped him, so it’s great to see that kind of reception. He loves this club so much and I know what it meant to him to play today.
“We have to share the goals. That desire and that commitment to get into the box to make things happen, it was excellent.”